Category Archives: Vendor

An interview with Mano Duggal from Phidon Pens

I was in Phidon Pens last thanksgiving and I was extremely impressed with the store and the incredible service I received. I felt comfortable and welcome in the store and Mano was very helpful.

Mano was kind enough to answer some questions for Writing and Scribbling.

What originally brought you to fountain pens, ink and fine paper?

My husband has always loved writing with a fine writing instrument especially fountain pens and I love fine paper. It was after attending the Toronto pen show a few years ago, Baldeep came home and said lets open a pen store. Hence Phidon Pens.

Do you sell more Fountain Pens, Ballpoints or Rollerballs?

yes,we do. FP’s do take the cake of the sales, but we do sell alot of RB’s and BP’s and MP’s

What are the pros/cons of being a brick and mortar store only?

In our opinon the only way to buy a fine writing instrument is to feel it, hold it in your hand, dip a pen in ink and write with it. Often when customers are looking to buy one, I end up showing so many before they choose one. Each persons hand is different, and a pen sits very differently on everyones hands. Also we sell a service here and its a very big part of what we do and our customers like that. We are not selling online and don’t have the market.

What is your favourite ink and favourite pen? What do you use daily?

My favourite is Sailor but for everyday writing Lamy is fantastic, I write with a F nib (Alstar). Baldeep my husband has many favourites but Pelikan is absolutely his favourite FP. My favourite ink is waterman green right now. Baldeep likes Visconti Blue, Omas Grey.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced getting Phidon Pens off the ground?

Just getting people in here, once they find us they are here, so lots of advertising, radio,print and of course word of mouth.

What has been the most satisfying aspect of promoting and being part of the Fountain Pen community?

We have developed wonderful relationships with our customers and our world has grown so much and we share common interests with our customers. Our business has grown with word of mouth .

Are there any products that are unique to Phidon that people should be aware of?

Over and above the 45 brands of pens we carry, we have some brands that are exclusive to Phidon Pens, Classic Pens from the states, Onoto from England, Curtis Australia from Australia, Marlen from Italy. We are the only ones in North America who sell these brands.

Our note books are unique, Behance, Whitelines, Apica, Maruman, Rhodia, Clairefontaine and many more. We have just introduced Rotterfaden notebooks, agendas, check out www.rotterfaden.com this is a brand new product form Germany and again we are the first ones to have it here in Canada. Also recently added to our collections of notebooks, Leuchttrum, paper quality is fantastic and there is no bleed at all.

Inks we have all major brands.

Our leather products are very unique, brand we carry are not availbale everywhere. bosca, tusting, brics, jack georges to name a few. Our Leather agendas are beautiful, Fiorentina from Itlay and Epica also from italy. hand made paper in leather bindings.

What does the future hold for Phidon Pens?

We are enjoying each day, bringing only the very best to our customers and keep introducing new products that are very unique and want to the best in Pens, Paper. Inks and Leather. We have always wanted the customers pace of life to slow down when they come and they can take their time and enjoy and pick up what they are looking for.

We have just introduced cameras into our store. not any camera but lomo cameras. Check it out
at www.lomography.com , their product sits very well with our products. Their motto is”The future is Analogue” and selling pens and paper, our future is Analogue as well. They look at unique places to sell their cameras, Urban outfitters, Holt renfrew and others and now Phidon Pens.

I would not hesitate to recommend that any fan of Fountain Pen, Paper, Ink or related products visit Phidon Pens. I really appreciate Mano and Baldeep’s dedication to focusing on providing a service and not just moving merchandise. This little gem of a store is a real find.

See the great time the london pen club had there here.

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An interview with Brian Gray of Edison Pen Company

Sometime late last year I contacted Brian Gray of the Edison Pen company and asked him if he would kindly answer some questions for Writing and Scribbling, he graciously agreed and here are the results.

What are your hobbies? or What do you like to do when not working on Edison Pens?

Before pens, I did woodworking, woodturning, and marquetry furniture. I travelled and studied with some of the best, and really enjoy it. The woodturning turned me onto pens, but I never liked pens made from kits. This led me to investigate how to manufacture my own parts, which took me from woodworking tools to machining tools. The woodworking equipment is still in my shop, but I don’t get to use them as often as I would like, as I’m pretty busy with pens.

What ink(s) do you currently have loaded and in what pens?

I have Waterman Blue, Waterman Blue/Black, and Waterman Havana loaded in an assortment of these pens…..

Lamy Safari (3 or 4)
Lamy Vista (2)
TWSBI
Bexley 2007 Owners Club
Bexley Simplicity
Various pens of my own making. Some are legitimate models that I haven’t sold for whatever reason. Some are prototypes that I’m testing, some are failed prototypes.

What is your most popular model?

Probably the Pearl. Maybe the Huron, but it hasn’t been around as long as the Pearl, so it’s hard to gauge.

The Pearl

The Pearl


The Huron

The Huron

Which filling mechanism is most popular?

Cartridge converter sells the best. They are easy to manufacture, easy to maintain, easy to convert to an Eyedropper.

But the bulb fillers definitely have a “cool factor”. However, they are difficult to manufacture, so the price goes up.

So based on sales, definitely Cartridge/Converter. Based on which give my clients bigger smiles, probably bulb fillers.

Bulb Filler

Bulb Filler

Have you had designs that just didn’t pan out once the prototype was turned?

Lots of times. I had a piston filler that never made it to market at all. I now have much better mechanisms, and there will be a piston filler sometime this year.

Most of my prototypes that never see the light of day or more related to shape and aesthetics, however. I’ll make a pen with a certain shape, certain dimension, etc…and then it just doesn’t “speak to me”, so it goes to a drawer where maybe someday I’ll revisit it.

What do you use your Fountain Pens for most? (letter writing, Journalling, note taking etc…)

I don’t journal on a regular basis. My pens are used for drafting, prototyping, note-taking, letter writing, and just overall joy. I am definitely am a user. I’m not always a fan of buying a pen, and not using it. Nothing wrong with this, however, especially if someone plans on reselling for a profit, or if it’s considered an investment. But for me, I don’t want a pen to sit. I want to use it.

What does the future hold for Edison Pens?

I just introduced a smaller line of pens called The Mina. I’m about a week away from announcing an overlay pen. I’m almost finished with a collaboration with Brian Goulet of Goulet Pens that will be ready to announce in a few weeks. I have some new models that I will not sell direct. These will be non-custom and go through retailers. A piston filler is on the agenda. I will be approaching a lever filler sometime this year, as well. Things have been growing so well that my wife and I can’t handle it on our own, so an employee is coming very soon.

The Mina

The Mina

Well there you have it. A little insight into one of the more interesting vendors out there. I must agree with Brian than those Bulb fillers have a hell of a cool factor.

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Paper-Papier


Paper-Papier Bag

Paper-Papier

Paper-Papier is located at 178 Clarence Street in Ottawa’s famous Byward market. It is a lovely store and has many fans, some of whom have already said a few kind words about it, but I thought I would focus on their Fountain Pen and Ink related products.

As you enter the store many people will notice how beautiful the store is. It is well lit, well decorated and most importantly well stocked with paper of every colour. The store is elegant and very well configured. I am drawn, of course, to the rear corner where the glass cabinets containing the Fountain Pens, Inks and Sealing Wax are kept. They carry a variety of brands and a large selection of each.

There are pens from Monteverde, Waterman, Lamy, Diplomat and Shaeffer. The Day I visited the store co-owner Gary Stern was happy to show me the newly arrived Faber-Castells. The pens are well displayed and lit and the staff is more than happy to open up the cabinets and let you have a good look (and feel) at your potential purchase.


waterman

Waterman Pens and Ink


safari

Lamy Safaris


lamy

Lamy Al-Stars and Rollerballs


monteverde

Monteverde Pens

The ink selection is also quite good as they carry Waterman, Lamy and a large selection of J. Herbin. You should be able to find an ink for any taste or mood. One interesting find was a bottle of J. Herbin’s anniversary ink, 1670 Rouge Hematite. There are conservative business blues and blacks and adventurous reds and greens. Most of the inks are available in bottles but there are some cartridges available.


herbin

J. Herbin Inks

Pens and inks are great but for your fine instrument to perform at its best you need proper paper. In case you couldn’t guess from the store name, they have whatever you could need. They carry a HUGE variety of papers, but the ones that most Fountain Pen users are familiar with are; Rhodia, Clairefountaine and G. lalo. My personal favourite is the Clairefountaine Triomphe pads that I love to use for my correspondence. I was also happy to learn from Gary that anything that the suppliers carry that isn’t in stock can be ordered. I will be taking him up on this as I am anxious to try some of Clairefountaine’s Seyes ruled notebooks.

One of my favourite aspects of Paper-Papier is the personal touch. I love going in, being greeted and browsing with the knowledge that the staff is always glad to answer questions or to demonstrate a product. Some of the pens and inks they carry can be found online for slightly less, but when you are looking at buying a pen and spending a significant amount of money on it (especially for first time buyers) it is really great to be able to handle the pen and feel its weight and fit before purchasing. This is the service and intangible qualities embodied in a brick and mortar store like Paper-Papier.


Monteverde Prima Selection

The Whole Package

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